A Palm Bay youngster who fell ill on her 10th birthday last December and faced spending Christmas in hospital is now raising funds to make sure other poorly children receive gifts over the festive period.
Betsy Boardman was so poorly that she ended up in QEQM Hospital where medics thought she was suffering from a serious infection. Initially she was treated with antibiotics but continued to deteriorate and was then transferred to the Evalina children’s hospital in London.
Mum Sarah said: “She ended up in (QEQM) hospital for 10 days and was discharged on December 22.
“She has Mixed Connective Tissue Disorder which is a combination of arthritis, lupus, scleroderma, Raynaud’s and other things.
“She is on weekly injections, daily medication tablets, three-monthly blood tests and three monthly trips to hospital in London.”
The disorder is an autoimmune disease. The symptoms include fatigue, extreme coldness and numb fingers, toes and, in Betsy’s case, her nose. There is also muscle and joint pain.
The disease can cause serious complications such as hearing loss, nerve damage and damage to organs.
There is no cure for mixed connective tissue disease but medication can help manage the symptoms.
Mum-of-two Sarah said: “Betsy is coping really well. We have days where she struggles to get up the stairs, limps, has little or no energy and we have other days when she is just Betsy.
“Since we have been home we haven’t had any more hospital admissions but there have been a few scary moments.
“Where she hasn’t really been moving she has had to build her muscles back up and the Raynaud’s affects the extremities, so her fingers, toes and nose will go blue and she will be very cold and we have to get her warm again.
“Betsy did dancing but had to give that up when she became poorly. She was playing the violin but that hurt her fingers.
“She loves animals and is a happy, funny and kind little girl.”
While Betsy was in hospital there were Santa visits and gifts and she has now decided that she wants to make sure any children in QEQM’s Rainbow Ward this Christmas are also treated to gift.
To raise money Betsy took on a challenge to walk ten miles this month and the determined youngster has already completed that but decided to continue and see how many more miles she can clock up.
Sarah said: “She wanted to walk to raise money so we set a realistic distance as anything more might have been too much but she did the 10 miles quicker than we expected and has decided to carry on walking.”
Betsy has already passed the £500 target on her fundraising page. An Amazon wish list set up for people who prefer to buy gifts rather than donate cash has also received around £400 is purchases.